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  1.  It really boggles me why out of all male characters in SB, only Ren gets called "absolute little shit". Why? Because he's the main character? Let's just remind ourselves that out of all the men who interacted with Kyoko in a romantic capacity, only he is the one who is the most decent. If you're worried that the story is sending the wrong message that pinning somebody down, manipulation, and jealousy is somehow okay traits to have and that all can be forgiven in the name of true love, don't be. Skip Beat is not one of those shojo manga who preaches these disgusting mindsets and that's why I love it (if I haven't said this already).
  2.  
  3. I know that I said that this is a fictional work but I also acknowledge that it is one of those works that are so close to reality. And though I said that works like these should also not be slave to it, I can see why people would apply real-life standards. Thing is, like I also said, I see that these perceptions supersede what the story tells and what the characters are actually feeling and that is why we are having this debate and why for some reason Ren out of all male characters have to be unfairly labeled as "absolute little shit."
  4.  
  5. To be honest, I'm annoyed about a variety of things: 1). I'm annoyed how the story and the characters are judged according to opinions that doesn't have any significance to the actual story outside of headcanons and then said headcanon gets treated as if it's some source of truth when the story is far from done and the theme of the story is far different from it. 2). I'm annoyed that due to said headcanon and variation in interpretation, a still developing character who is the closest to being a nice guy and who actually wants to change himself gets a rude labelling. 3). I'm annoyed that male characters who are actually far more abusive gets a pass because they are side characters and so somehow not a part of the message of a negative love interest or individual that's actively been shown to harass and molest Kyoko much more often than the one character who did get a rude labelling. 4.) I'm annoyed that you acting as if Kyoko and Ren are already in a relationship and he's an abusive bastard to her. Lastly 5.) CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.
  6.  
  7. Let me address my annoyances one by one.
  8.  
  9. #1.
  10.  
  11. The story is still continuing and nowhere near done. I don't understand how the current standing of things and how the traits and situations thus far somehow gets treated as if it's the endgame, as if there is no room for character development (or nonexistent), and as if the interpretation painting a character in a negative light is treated as the only truth for some reason? Have we been reading the same manga because what I read and what you interpreted are too different from each other? I can tell that not even Kyoko's growth as a character was taken in consideration (or that you either ignore it or missed it altogether) since you've tried the angle that she is subservient and eager to please everyone as another reason to pass the manipulation route. She may have retain some of it as seen in her day-to-day activities and her determination to do things wholeheartedly, but the completely subservient Kyoko was no more the moment she left Shotaro; her haircut being the first step of her throwing away her past as she stated. After all at that point she had no one to please outside her quest for revenge. This had been briefly touched upon when she despaired with the realization that the reason she was able to pull off the tea ceremony perfectly was because of her training as the next okami in the Fuwa ryokan. That she was still the person molded according to how other people want her to be. She realized afterwards what she wanted for herself for the first time ever: to act on equal footing with Ren.
  12.  
  13. This was also brought up when she tried studying for her entrance exam for high school courtesy of Lory. She was studying so hard the "absolute little shit" had to remind her she's doing it for her sake and no one else and started the road to the realization that she is now completely free to do as she pleases. It was why she no longer pushed herself too far to the point of exhaustion, as implied to be the case when she was younger, and aced the exam.
  14.  
  15. The aftermath of the PV had shown us that acting is now something she enjoyed and doing for her own sake and no one else (something she already realized after the match with Ruriko). It is the first thing she has ever done for herself. The second is her decision to find closure with her mother no matter how hurt she was with her denouncing of the existence of her child in live tv no less.
  16.  
  17. At the very least, there is GROWTH, and Ren has been by her side and growing along with her yet.
  18.  
  19. #2
  20.  
  21. As I said, your claims are still headcanons as far as the story is concerned. You make your own conclusion solely on what you believe and nitpicking every little thing (because I don't believe you ever pay attention to greater details like character growth and narration style) and accept it as the only truth. It is why you can excuse total scumbags like Sho and even Reino :nauseated_face: but see Ren as an "absolute little shit" because his internal conflict is affecting Kyoko no matter how much he tries to control it.
  22.  
  23. So it ironically is true that the scummiest, cruelest, malicious, cold-hearted, male can get forgiven as long as he did a few decent things here and there (Reino didn't have any redeeming qualities wth!) as long as they are not main characters, and as side characters they don't count in the moral lesson somehow.
  24.  
  25. Instead of looking at the bigger picture and how the narration handled things, you only focus on "reality" too much. That is the kind of mindset that's annoying to see in a reader because they tend to whine over the littlest things. I'm happy I don't share the same viewpoint because it certainly spared me from agonizing too much over nothing when reading manga.
  26.  
  27. I'm sorry. I can never view the manga the way you do.
  28.  
  29. #3
  30.  
  31. Right. I don't understand the logic why main characters have to be under stricter standards on realistic scale of things but side characters get a pass despite doing much worse or being far more on the scummy, cruel, malicious, cold-hearted side than is realistically acceptable simply because of their status as side characters. Oh maybe I do understand to an extent, since MCs gets more development. Nevertheless, in this sort of discussion NO ONE should be exempted to anything since we are talking about the entire plot and its characters. So if Ren's an absolute shit, Sho is a maggot and Reino is an organism that any comparison to the lowest worms is an insult to them.
  32.  
  33. If we're really going to nitpick every offenses Ren/Kuon made against Kyoko, why not nitpick the times Sho abused her as his maid, kissed her against her will twice, abducted her, slapped her and injured her face due to that, and crippled her self-esteem when it comes to her looks. Why not nitpick the times Reino had done the same thing of stalking her, targeted her first out of spite for Sho, and worse, almost raped her. Oh and how about Kanae insulted Kyoko for no reason despite meeting each other for the first time just because she looked plain from the rest of the contestants all the while shoving Maria to her, and the emotional manipulation of withdrawing Kyoko's status as her bestfriend if she doesn't tell her secrets. Chiori pushing her down the stairs out of jealousy. Kimiko and her manager drugging and attempting to murder her. And let's not ignore that even Kyoko is not above forcing people to do what she wants; forcing Kanae to enter the Love Me section so that she won't be alone in the criticisms and rejection (which she really said in the manga). Oh and subjecting Sawara and his family into sleepless nights with her extreme persistence to join LME. Can we also ignore how her mother emotionally abused her to the point that she still harbored emotional scars?
  34.  
  35. Each of these actions (and those I may have forgotten) only received little to no consequences it's absurd by real life standards because that's what Nakamura wants to convey.
  36.  
  37. A.B.S.U.R.D.
  38.  
  39. So why are you only applying real life standards to Ren's actions that in some ways was done out of necessity or to convey the darkness he has to conquer?
  40.  
  41. Doesn't make sense.
  42.  
  43. Now what boggles me even more is just because Sho showed a more decent side to him and if the spoiler is to be believed, is chummy with Kyoko for some reason now and that somehow makes their relationship built in a stronger foundation? That because they both understood each other, and that because it's not built on lies and cowardice, it's somehow better? Nevermind that Kuon/Ren have a good reason for those? Because somehow it's easier to ignore the emotional abuse, the physical abuse, harassment, and stalking that is the REAL foundation of their relationship just because a few interactions showed a decent improvement? And that's why Sho at this point is a contender for Kyoko's feelings but Ren is not?
  44.  
  45. D.O.E.S.N.T. M.A.K.E. S.E.N.S.E
  46.  
  47. Then, I can say that as someone who did the most for Kyoko, Kuon/Ren is the best contender there is. No, I'm not saying you said this, someone said that. I'm just not naming names. You also expressed a liking to Ren getting angry in the newest spoiler chapter because it justifies how you see him as. It also stems from your desire to get Ren tortured in whatever means and form because you are sadistically anticipating his pain due to your own misconstrued sense of justice over imagined slights.
  48.  
  49. Quite frankly, I understood Ren's reaction as someone in the position who knows the history between Kyoko and Sho. It's only natural that he would get angry especially since he doesn't believe Sho deserve her for the pain and heartache he caused for years. It's like she's stupid for going back to him just because there is a minimal reciprocation on Sho's part. And it's even more so since he knew that this new development doesn't make sense when the photo of the kiss that could explain how it happened a few minutes before he arrived and comforted Kyoko over the tv broadcast. She's obviously distraught that the kiss didn't get her out of her sadness that's why she still needed Kuon/Corn/Ren's comfort. Which means that Sho is not enough to be a comfort to her and that still, no one can replace "Corn" in her heart.
  50.  
  51. (Which is what he already knew when he said that both "Kuon" and "Ren" are both unrivaled existences for her, though it's doubtful if he truly grasp to what extent.)
  52.  
  53. However, I will not judge his anger when the new chapter isn't out yet. We don't know why he ever does it. Like I said in the chat, I'm waiting for the plot and character progression than nitpicking every little thing at the present.
  54.  
  55. Though you know, what makes the whole Kyoko and Sho thing even more infuriating and your (as well as another's) positive reaction is exactly because the Kyoko and Sho pairing is the classic shojo heroine and male lead scenario. Male lead is either and asshole or indifferent. Heroine changes herself to be more noticeable. Male lead notices her. Second male lead enters the scene and main lead's rival. Heroine ends up with asshole/indifferent lead just because he "developed" a little.
  56.  
  57. Yet you have no problem expressing your approval huh? Shows how much of a double standard you have against Ren. Never mind that Kyoko and Ren is a route that will be unique or different enough from other shojo couples.
  58.  
  59. #4
  60.  
  61. At this point, like I always said, Kyoko and Ren are nowhere in the position to ever be in a romantic involvement. I know that much and agree with you on that (though no need to be smug) because they're too damaged and still on the path to recovery. So in that same manner, let us not treat as if they are already in a relationship and in a problematic one at that.
  62.  
  63. #5
  64.  
  65. Let me just stress this again: CHARACTER AND PLOT DEVELOPMENT.
  66.  
  67. It's frustrating to see how you ignore these two aspects of a story to perpetuate your own headcanons.
  68.  
  69. Kyoko and Ren both serve as parallels and contrast of each other and that is what's fascinating about them to me.
  70.  
  71. They develop as characters together, which is already OUT OF THE LEAGUE of most shojo manga because Skip Beat is not just Kyoko's story anymore. Ren is the other driving force to keep the plot going and that they both serve as balance to each other through serving as each other's development and talisman. That is what makes Skip Beat an enjoyable read. And I will not do a disservice to the whole story over incomplete and trivial little things.
  72.  
  73.  
  74. Do forgive my unpleasant tone. I'm just frustrated with the turn of things. I may not be able to reply to whoever wants to add or dispute my claim because I have to concentrate on my thesis and won't be as active anymore. But I just want to post my viewpoint before I leave.
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